Virat Kohli’s rise in the last four or five years has been quite fascinating to watch, to say the least. His transformation from the young, raw talent whose batting was quite eye-catching to the talisman and senior statesman of the team has been spectacular.
He has improved leaps and bounds since that tour of the West Indies in 2011 where he was found out big time in his first Test series. Up until that point, he was doing extremely well in the limited overs format and contributed to India’s famous 2011 World Cup win, on home soil, but he did not translate that success into Test cricket immediately. He, at the time, was already earmarked as a future captain, and after all his performances across formats in different places, he has become India’s Test captain. Without a flinch, one can say that he’s established himself as one of the best players in the world.
In a team which is going through transition following the retirements of several stalwarts, India badly needed a player who could stand up and be counted. Captain Virat Kohli has proved to be the right man for almost all situations. Of course, the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Rohit Sharma have done an excellent job too, but none of them have had the impact Virat Kohli has.
He needs to up his Test average by one point to become the only player in the world to average above 45 in all three formats of the game and has amassed twenty five hundreds in ODI’s and eleven hundreds in Tests at just 27 years of age. His ability to switch gears is unparalleled, and it has taken him a long way in international cricket, enabling him to play all three formats of the game with tremendous success.
Make no mistake, if there is anyone who can get close to or even break the records set by Sachin Tendulkar, it is Virat Kohli. There was a time when it was established that that was impossible, but Kohli has not only shown that it can be done, but has also embarked on the arduous and difficult journey towards greatness with some aplomb.
At the age of 27, with a long career and arguably his best years, still ahead of him, he already has 25 ODI hundreds. Tendulkar’s record of 49 tons in ODI cricket is definitely under genuine threat. He is now in joint-fourth spot in the list of batsmen with most ODI centuries. Sri Lankan legend, Kumar Sangakkara, has 25 tons to his name, which he achieved in 404 ODIs. Kohli has played only 171 ODI’s and has already equalled this feat.
His 50% win percentage in his first ten Tests as captain, with two of those matches, against Bangladesh and South Africa, pretty much washed out due to rain, is already impressive. He will take over the reins in the limited overs format too, as soon as MS Dhoni calls it quits and don’t bet against him having similar success there.
It was India’s wins in Sri Lanka (2-1) and the hammering of South Africa at home (3-0) that paved the way for Kohli’s team to become world number one in Test cricket, which happened following South Africa’s loss to England in the Test series between them. With quite a number of new faces like Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Manish Pandey all coming through the ranks in the Indian cricket team, Kohli is someone they will look up to and will be an inspiration to all of them. He has set the standards extremely high for many upcoming cricketers not only in India, but all across the world.
Virat Kohli is a quintessence of character. He’s the man who always finds a way not only to climb out of a hole, but also to shine when things go haywire. He is the epitome of attitude and personality. If he can carry on in this fashion in the coming years, Indian cricket can certainly touch unprecedented heights.